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A summer of stories

My daughter loves writing stories in her down time—she’s been done with her latest school year for a little over a week, and she’s already written several chapters of The Secret of the Blue Whale (right now, Julian has discovered a secret underwater village—more to come).

She’s a bit like me in this way, even though right now it comes out more in the talking-animal form: she processes through writing. But even if she weren’t the writing type, I’d still want a way to encourage her to take a pen to paper and scratch out her imagination. There’s something pretty powerful about a well-told story. They make up the magic of our collective culture.

In order to foster her creativity, I created a journal of ten story prompts, one for the ten (more or less) weeks of summer). And last week, I realized it’d be fun to make it available to you, too. It’s called A Summer of Stories.

A Summer of Stories: 10 Prompts for Writing Great Summertime Tales | An e-book for kids by Tsh Oxenreider!

“A book is simply the container of an idea—like a bottle; what is inside the book is what matters.” -Angela Carter

This PDF can be made in to a printable journal, filled with room to brainstorm and scratch out stories till her—and your child’s—heart’s content. It also includes a low-key explanation of the five elements of a story, the five elements of a plot, point of view, and a pep talk about why writing is fun. I also may or may not reference Harry Potter. (I need to emphasize my hipness with the youth.)

I can shake off everything as i write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn. -Anne Frank

If this sounds like a cup of tea your kiddo would like to sip this summer, head here. My daughter is nine, so I wrote it for around her age, plus or minus a few years—but I’ve already heard from a few grownups that they’re having fun with it, too. I’ve included ideas on how to tweak it for younger or older writers.

A Plot, Deconstructed

I’ve also included general encouragement for the parent, resources for grammar if you want to go there (since this e-book is more about the creative free-flow of writing), and a link to find free paper I’ve created for younger writers and videos about the book-publishing process.

If you prefer a Kindle version, head here; a Nook version, head here. They’re a dollar cheaper, since they’re also not journals—it includes all the other info, but you’ll need to provide your own writing space. Still just as fun, though, I think.

I’d love to know what you think! If you guys like this, I may make available the one I write her for the fall as well. Go ahead and take a look at A Summer of Stories.

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” -Stephen King

Reading Time:

2 minutes





  1. Aimee

    I’m super excited about this, Tsh! I know my Noah will make good use of the journal. Thanks for sharing with us!

  2. Naomi

    SO great! Thank you so much for this and for sharing … love that it can be used without printing.

  3. Katie Harding

    This is amazing! My oldest is super creative and loves to tell stories so this would be perfect for him, can’t wait to play around with this!

  4. Taria Cameron

    Hi Tsh,
    I just bought the e-book, but I’m not sure how to access it. Will I get an email with the pdf? It looks like a great way to get my kids writing this summer! Thanks!

    • Tsh

      The link is provided after you purchase – it should redirect you to the checkout page, and under Order Details you’ll see your file. See the screenshot here. Hope that helps!

      • Taria

        I’m not sure if I didn’t wait long enough for the checkout page or didn’t get redirected. But, now I am not sure how to get to it! Is there a way to look at my past orders? I know it shouldn’t be this complicated! Thanks.

        • Tsh

          Hmm… Go ahead and email Kyle and he can help you out – Thanks, Taria, and sorry for the hassle!

          • stephanie

            Emailing as well. I sat for a while last night and wasn’t redirected either; waited until morning in case it was an instance of a separate email. It looks great and like something my 10yo will eat up. 🙂

          • Holly Stewart

            I’m in the same note. Did not get the redirect to the complete order page to download. Will email as well.

          • Holly Stewart

            Same boat 😉

          • Jill Foley

            Me too…

      • Natalie

        Me, too. Will email at above address.

        • Lisa

          Me too

  5. Caroline Starr Rose

    What a lovely, lovely idea!

    My boys and I like to make Choose Your Own Adventure books during summer vacation. We chop up scrap paper and make a chart of pages — 1-50. We think up a title together (something the story always strays from in the end). One of us writes the first page and then leaves two options for the other two. Then the other two write the next two pages, read them aloud, and we claim what we want from their options. It becomes a big, crazy, ridiculous thing, but as long as we keep checking pages off the chart (and as long as we don’t wait too long between writing sessions…it’s hard to get back in the groove with so many story strands!) it works.

    • Tsh

      Love that, Caroline!

  6. Rach

    What a great idea!

  7. Abbey

    My kiddo is still a baby, but this is an awesome idea! Way to go, Tsh! 🙂

  8. Penny

    This is fantastic! I’m going to save it for August when we start back to school. This will be so great for my write anywhere daughter and son to do while I get my writing phobic special needs child going on his new writing curriculum. Perfection!

  9. Nina

    Probably one of the best ideas for an ebook (aka not simply a repurposed collection of blog posts lol). My kids are still way too young for this, but it has already inspired me to at least prompt them for more storytelling!

  10. Sharon Holbrook at

    This is wonderful! I’ve been telling my kids, whose first day off is today, that we’re going to do a little writing workshop this summer. We are in! (Other related things will be Story Cubes, playing writing-related board games like Scrabble etc, making our own comic strips, and writing letters. More ideas welcome!)

  11. Heather

    just seeing this now…but sold! sitting at Starbucks now across from my almost 9 year old as he works on his first story brainstorming session. thanks for piecing this together and making this moment happen.

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